When you do, your passion will come across something difficult to translate through a disinterested ghostwriter. For the clients: Resist hiring a ghostwriter. Instead, learn how to write or hire people who can write for you — in their names. This is an opportunity to nurture a rising star. To move away from a consolidation of power and cult of personality and expand your reach within your own ranks. This is why big media try to hire notable writers. They know the company will rise with the tide of their stable of writers. They can benefit from rising writers.
In other words, there is no reason to consolidate power behind you. And if you have to hire someone to help you write, give them credit as a co-author. So you can certainly employ ghostwriters for SEO purposes but … it has to be done in the right way. You can feel passion through writing, and only a few gifted ghostwriters can accomplish that for another person. And there are other ways to make money, Anthony. You just got to get in the ring and start slugging it out. We all start at the bottom. My stance on ghostwriting has come to be more about the necessity of the learning process. A big and probably the biggest reason why I have not gone down the ghostwriting path for my company blog is that I find myself learning more from writing a post myself than from most other practices in our space.
I have the utmost respect for quality writers, especially since each article is a big undertaking for me, and I still think that they are the most under-appreciated resources that a company can have. The best ones deserve credit and acclaim for their talents as writing is really an art form. That can also be true even when writers have their names on it, too.
Writing for me is how I think. This is why I encourage everyone to write.
How to Become a Ghostwriter for Beginners - Elna Cain
Because of this, no writer is going to spend a lot of passion on it. And you probably got paid fifteen dollars to write it. Sixteen if you were lucky. Been there, done that. Thank you for writing such a thorough article on the topic. Ghostwriting has been on my mind a lot lately. Not because I plan to use one for vsellis. Granted, they could always have people write under their own names which is what I generally recommend but some of them want to build their own authority and are rightfully authorities on their topic and hence want things written in their names.
Personally, I think writers need to wisen up. Get in for a short while. Get out before it sucks your writer soul dry.
To make sure that both parties get the most out of it, I:. Ask the client what angle he wants the content to go in this step usually becomes redundant after a few posts since by then I know how my client thinks. Personally, I only take one ghost writing client at a time. My terms and condition and and explanation of how I do things is often enough to tell me whether the client and I are a good match.
It tells me how aware, involved and accommodating a client is. With one client of mine, I had the voice problem you mentioned. We found a solution by getting her to write the intro. It was enough for me to catch her voice and take it forward.
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In my experience, for a ghost writing arrangement to work keeping aside other considerations , the client needs to actually be an authority on the subject, be willing to get involved and invest some of his time. Great comment, Samar. Sounds like you worked out the kinks. I should have consulted you before I jumped in. Perhaps I might have found it more pleasurable.
Do you plan to do this type a work for the long haul? Do you like working for yourself? Which it is initially. As a result my ghost writing clients have been few and far between. My future plans are to continue working in the same vein and to find a balance between the two. Less client work and more personal projects though. I signed on the dotted line. I love working for myself. Uh, no. A business should not invest in the lesser of any two opportunities, all else equal.
How to find a ghostwriter
Much of what Google thinks is true was actually made true by Google… because search is new, disruptive, and changes the way systems and people behave. And if the only way to feed your kids as a writer between successful novels is to be a ghost writer, blame Google, not the businesses that hire ghost writers. Those businesses hired SEOs, designers, PR firms, advertising agencies, and street sign waivers in the past, and will hire whatever works in the future.
What kind of commercial writing does Google want? I demonstrated businesses can invest in writers and have a return. They call them bankable talent. People who draw audiences. And why does getting an offer to ghostwrite equal the most effective way to achieve a goal? Now Google demands commercial writing. The Guilds are legal entities created to manage the complexities of IP for creators, in industries where creative works generate value separate from the value they could have created alone. Those organizations are quite complex and expensive to maintain, and again, the membership funds it.
Promoting a new talent is expensive and may not even depend on the talent very much… without a system to manage the investment agents, contracts, agency laws, guilds, etc the indentured servitude laws prevent a business from capitalizing on the earned asset value of a human. For a business to rank in Google the goal it is forced to hire a writer or as you suggest, learn to write. You may choose to write in a sincere way, with an authoritative tone, based on knowledge you gained from research, in my field… and yet be little more than a troll seeking discussion and debate to possibly improve your craft and knowledge.
Perhaps not actually involved in my field publishing, hiring writers for strategic web content at all. It will be well received, and if you can negotiate a byline for yourself, you can launch an SEO career. Before Google, my plumber or my florist would have hired an advertising firm or asked someone at the local newspaper to write and create an ad or hired a signmaker to paint an attractive sign.
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Before or after Google. That was my point, Arienne. It would be a benefit to the company. Addressing the florist advertising, I suggest that the playing field was much flatter… the yellow page ad cost a lot more for larger ads and there was only so much room for copy.
Reasons to Hire a Ghost Writer
Similarly, the print quality put a ceiling on impact from image quality. It could have been so much better. A: because the writer will raise price along with recognized value, as the market aided by Google recognizes it. In this scenario set up by Google the rewards flow from one set of performance measures, while the business value needs to be measured on a different set of metrics.
So murky it works GREAT for Google and often writers, and that adds to the pain of the businesses who already have enough trouble trying to make sense of attribution. I, too, struggle with a twinge of jealousy that others are getting credit, but money is money. I need that more than credit most of the time! I found that I can still have my own identity with my own credit by writing for other blogs that I own. Of course, that takes time, too, and might be the reason I work in excess of hours per week! Scott, you scare me when you say things like that.
So when Presidents start cheating on their wives, it is then okay for us to do the same? Or allows them to establish a system of moral principles. And if money is money, why not be a prostitute? Now, now.
I know and respect Mr. He knows his stuff and has a way of thinking about SEO his area of expertise that I learn from often, just as I learn often from your area of expertise direct sales copywriting. Thanks I think. What we have here is a marketing cross-over blog, that allows guest posts and sometimes publishes someone who honestly can afford to spend a lot of time managing the conversation because it leads to learnings…and topical writers gain from learnings. John, you were the one who accused me of being a troll … and then said I was a poser. Those sound like fighting words to me.
Unless you had some meaning I missed. Which happened not to be true. I wrote this article because I had something to say. I have strong convictions, but I also have blind spots. I want to sharpen my thinking. And I find that happens in discussion and debate. Did that offend you? Perhaps we could start again? Not at all… I have a sincere investment in the quality of the web and web ecosystem. There is a marketplace here and Google holds the reigns.. You are right: a writer needs to justify his pay everyone needs to justify their pay. Having been to see her and heard her story I wrote a synopsis and sample chapter of Sold and found an agent to represent it.
The book eventually translated into every possible language and has so far sold over three million copies and spawned a sequel. To get her story on tape Zana and I spent three days together in a hotel suite in Birmingham and I then spent between two and three months writing. As with all the authors I ghost for, Zana had complete control over the text, nothing would even be shown to the agent until she had okayed it, but she changed almost nothing.
Always having one good agent representing both parties in the arrangement, whose prime interest is in getting the book well published, not in encouraging the ghost and the author to fight one another for larger shares of the resulting royalties, means that I have almost never exchanged a cross word with any of my subjects.
Being a ghost is a matter of suppressing your own ego completely, which is a good discipline for any writer. I listen to their story and then tell it for them, helping to get across their view of the world and the way things happen in it. She then exploited her position by selling her story to the media.
She needed a ghost who would not challenge her about the morality of what she had done, but would simply listen to what she had to say and understand how she justified her position to herself. Had she been able to write the book herself that is what she would have wanted to say. If the writer wishes to be critical of the subject then they must step back and create an objective biography, not an autobiography. If they have nothing to say that you want to hear the project will become unbearable.
Imagine spending that much time talking to someone who bores you, and then having to go away and write it out all over again. I always judge a project by whether I think it interests me at more than one level. Had Gillian Taylforth merely been a soap actress telling anecdotes about other Eastenders actors I doubt if I could have created a whole book for her.
On top of that she had had the courage to take on the might of the News International organisation in court and, even more amazingly, she had lost the case and faced personal financial ruin and ridicule everywhere she went. Despite all this she remained a resolutely charming and funny woman with a strong family all around her. It had the makings of a Greek tragedy and worked at so many different levels it was easy to find enough material.
The same applied to Sold by Zana Muhsen. Not only did it give an insight into the alien culture of a peasant girl in the Yemen, there was the adventure element of whether she and her sister would be able to escape and the insights which she could give into the way the diplomatic world allowed them to become victims of political expediency.
It was one of the first books to talk about life behind the veil from the point of view of someone who had experienced it and it was all told in the voice of a straight talking Birmingham girl. It was like a true version of an Arabian Knights tale and a nightmare that any young girl can understand. On top of that there was the emotional story of how she fell in love with the young gorillas against a background of her relationship with her husband, who was working with her, the civil war which was brewing up and the terrible tropical diseases which practically killed them both.
Any ghostwriter is going to be expensive, and a good business ghostwriter is very expensive. In fact, this is a very important point: if you hire a cheap ghostwriter, you will almost certainly end up with a bad book. Below is a general guideline to the current market prices for ghostwriters.
These prices can vary somewhat, because ghostwriting is an opaque market with no centralized marketplace for price discovery, but for a page non-fiction book, prices usually break down like this:. At best, they are very new and taking cheap work to build their portfolio.
Understand that there are substantial quality differences in this price range, and even within that range, a higher price does not guarantee quality. There are many who charge in this range who are not good at all, and many in this range who are cheap compared to the quality they deliver. And the very best ghostwriters can actually command a share of the advance and royalties.
One of my good friends and writing partners falls into this category— Nils Parker. And because he is so good, he has a two year backlog of clients waiting to work with him. Ghostwriters at this level are actually easier to find, since they are known by most of the book agents and book editors in the business, and tend to work on a referral basis only. There is no equivalent transparent, reliable marketplace for ghostwriters. In order to find a ghostwriter, you will have to look in many, many different places, and each one will have different people listed at different prices I list the best places to look below.
Furthermore, unless you are skilled at hiring and testing writers, you will have problems evaluating them. Even if you find one you want, you then have to negotiate a deal, and set all the proper expectations. Do you know exactly what they should be delivering, and on what schedule, and how to check their work? If not, then this whole process can get hard. Finding and hiring the ghostwriter are just the first steps.
After you hire them the relationship changes. Their selfish goal is to get the work done as fast as possible and get you out the door, so they can sign their next client. Remember, they are a freelancer. The only way they make money is by signing authors to contracts. By definition, a good ghostwriter wants to deliver good work. The only thing you can be sure of in ghostwriting is that it is expensive.
You cannot get guarantees of quality, or reliability, or get your money back. This system makes sense from the perspective of the ghostwriter. It could mean thousands of hours of work. No good, established ghostwriter would ever do that. In fact, most of them are good people who like working on books and want to go a good job. The problem is that some authors are totally unreasonable, so the ghostwriters have to structure their deals this way to protect themselves from the few really bad author clients out there.
You are totally in the hands of the ghostwriter that you are working with. This is why the best ghostwriters are so expensive—the more money you spend, the more experience and reputation the ghostwriter has, the lower the risk. This is possibly the biggest negative, at least for most people. They have some ideas and some things they know, but they hired the ghostwriter so they do not have to do the hard work of coming up with the ideas, and the expression of those ideas.
To not give credit is to pretend you did it, which shows a lack of character in my eyes. This is especially important to business books. Part of the reason you are writing the book is because you are saying that the book contains your unique knowledge. If it does not in fact contain that, then there is a major trust issue. His exact response:. Someone has reached the point in their life where they want to do a vanity memoir and then they reach out to friends who for various reasons have come in contact with writers.
I was shocked at this, so I did more research with book agents and actual ghostwriters. I talked to dozens of other agents and ghostwriters, and collected the places they source writers or authors. I think it is the most comprehensive list on the internet, and as far as I can tell, the only one based on actual research with book agents and ghostwriters:.
Our writers said they get a lot of inbound leads from their sites, which they said people find two ways, Google and LinkedIn. LinkedIn : This is a great place to start a general search, but be prepared to do a lot of research into their work, check their sites, etc. The good ghostwriters will be listed a few pages back.
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Or better yet, be careful using a general Google search at all, and start other places on the list. These are places where freelance writers have profiles, to connect with people looking for freelancer writers. Very few of these marketplaces are designed around ghostwriting specifically, and very few vet their ghostwriters, though many do have different ways of displaying social proof reviews, etc.
Reedsy : This is the best freelancer marketplace that I know of for books. Their selection of ghostwriters is high quality and is getting larger. Helpfully, they also have a systematic process for finding ghostwriters, getting bids, and working with them, so their platform itself helps to solve quite a few of the ghostwriting issues outlined above.
How to Start a Ghostwriting Career
If I were looking for a ghostwriter, I would probably start here. MediaBistro : A well known freelance platform that attracts a lot of high quality writers. American Association of Ghostwriters : I have no experience dealing with them, but I know one writer who gets leads from them and has nice things to say.
I looked at their stable of ghostwriters, and they seem pretty solid. I have no used it, but it was also recommended by a writer. Upwork : There actually are some good ghostwriters in this marketplace, the problem is that there are way more bad ones. So be very diligent in your vetting of them. Scripted : This is a pure marketplace, with a ton of different writers. Guru : This is about the same level as Scripted. Fiverr : This is the bottom of the barrel for ghostwriting, and I am only putting this here to tell you not to go here looking for writers. A ghostwriter agency is a company that connects authors with ghostwriters, and then takes a cut of the fee.
Agencies make their money on the difference between what they charge and what they pay to freelancers.